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Posts Tagged ‘Texas Ethics Commission’

Reynolds receives jail sentence in barratry case

He got the max for the misdemeanor charge on which he was convicted. State Rep. Ron Reynolds could spend up to a year in jail after he was sentenced Monday to the maximum penalty following his conviction on charges arising from what prosecutors called an “ambulance chasing for profit” scheme. A Montgomery County jury sentenced […]

Rep. Ron Reynolds convicted of misdemeanor barratry charge

The word “tawdry” applies to this. State Rep. Ron Reynolds was convicted Friday of illegally soliciting clients in an “ambulance chasing for profit” scheme, a verdict that carries the threat of jail time and deals a blow to his political career but won’t require him to leave office. A Montgomery County jury convicted Reynolds, a […]

Who can pay for Ken Paxton’s defense?

Paxton himself would like to know, though he doesn’t want you to know that he wants to know. In mid-July, a law firm representing an unnamed state official asked the Texas Ethics Commission whether it would be legal under state gift-giving laws for its client to receive a “benefit” from a donor if the official […]

Paxton recuses himself from lots of regular AG activity

Other people in the AG’s office are doing parts of Ken Paxton’s job because right now he can’t. The AG’s office has followed agency policy, state rules and laws to screen Paxton from participating in matters where he may have a conflict of interest, wrote Cynthia Meyer, spokeswoman for the Texas Office of the Attorney […]

Churches and recall elections

This ought to be interesting. Are Texas churches prohibited from campaigning to recall politicians? The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals [weighed] that question Thursday in a case set to clarify if and how a church as a corporate entity can influence the political process of ousting a sitting elected official. A San Antonio congregation, […]

How will we miss Ken Paxton if he doesn’t go away?

Despite his arrest and indictment, Ken paxton might stick around for awhile. Using Texas history as a measure, Ken Paxton’s indictment on securities fraud charges may mean he will have to navigate rough political waters if he stays in office pending his day in court. And even if he should be convicted on the charges […]

Paxton’s partner in alleged crime

Meet Fritz Mowery, the man who helped get AG Ken Paxton into trouble. Fritz Mowery was on a mission. Last April, he tried to convince investment clients to sign backdated forms saying they knew Ken Paxton had received money for referring clients. In a hearing in March, Mowery said he did it, “because it became […]

Campaign finance reports may be a bit more interesting this cycle

And by “interesting”, I mean in the Chinese curse sense. From the city’s campaign finance reports page: In April 2015, the Texas Ethics Commission released a new Electronic Filing Application. The changes made have to do with the separation of the types of contributions and political expenditures. Though these changes are minor, they require substantial […]

Paxton involved in another scam

When it rains, it pours. The name of Attorney General Ken Paxton, facing potential indictment by special prosecutors in Collin County for first-degree felony securities fraud, has surfaced in a federal probe of a company in which he is an investor. The investigation, first reported late Tuesday by the Associated Press, centers on whether McKinney-based […]

Ethics complaint filed against Sen. Huffman

From the Lone Star Project: The Lone Star Project has learned that a complaint was filed Wednesday with the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) alleging that Republican State Senator Joan Huffman (SD17 – Houston) is in violation of section § 572.023 of the Texas Government Code for failure to disclose a financial interest in 30 business […]

Bill to kneecap Public Integrity Unit gets unstuck

And away it goes. Senate Bill 10, filed by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, passed on second reading along party lines. The integrity unit is currently a state-funded division of the Travis County DA’s office that investigates public corruption, insurance fraud and tax fraud. Some Republicans have said the unit has had partisan motives for its […]

The odds never favor ethics reforms

Better to keep your hopes down and not suffer too much disappointment. Gov. Greg Abbott pledged on the campaign trail to lead the charge to improve the state’s ethics laws, and now lawmakers and advocates pushing for reform are looking to the newly elected governor to help breathe life into proposals at the Legislature. Lawmakers […]

New frontiers in residency requirements

Michael Quinn Sullivan lives exactly where he says he lives, no more and no less. Empower Texans President Michael Quinn Sullivan and the Texas Ethics Commission are scheduled to tangle in state district court in Denton County for the first formal hearing in Sullivan’s appeal of a commission ruling charging him with flouting the law […]

Abbott’s actions in the Hecht ethics case belie his “just doing my job” evasion

More accurately, it’s his lack of action that speaks clearly about his priorities and discretion. Attorney General Greg Abbott, accused of favoritism in his handling of an ethics case involving a Texas Supreme Court justice, says it’s not his duty to press the case that has sat idle for two years. That reasoning, however, doesn’t […]

TPJ files suit against Abbott over Hecht ethics case

Here we go again. An Austin legal watchdog group filed suit Wednesday to force action on a $29,000 ethics fine, levied against Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht in 2008, that has languished on appeal for 5½ years. The motion from Texans for Public Justice seeks to remove Attorney General Greg Abbott from the […]

Empower Texans could have some tax problems

Schadenfreude alert: Empower Texans, an organization at the center of the state’s far-right conservative movement, reported no political expenses on its 2012 tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service, despite showing $350,000 in campaign expenditures to state authorities, documents show. The group, which claims to support fiscal responsibility and greater transparency in government, is best […]

Abbott files complaint with Ethics Commission over Davis book tour

Whatever. The campaign manager for GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott filed an ethics complaint on Thursday alleging that the book tour of Abbott’s Democratic opponent, state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, represents a conversion of political contributions into personal use. Wayne Hamilton’s complaint to the Texas Ethics Commission claims that Davis converted political contributions […]

Abbott claims Davis’ book tour constitutes an illegal campaign contribution

I guess he has to do something to distract from what’s actually in Sen. Davis’ book. Republican gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott asked the Texas Ethics Commission on Monday to rule whether opponent Wendy Davis’ book deal and tour crosses the line on illegal corporate campaign contribution because it is tied to her ongoing campaign. Davis’ […]

Shine a light on dark money

I totally favor this. Secret campaign donors in Texas may soon be forced out of the shadows. The Texas Ethics Commission, already fighting a conservative group in court over whether it can regulate dark money disclosure, appears poised to approve a proposal aimed at requiring some politically active nonprofits to start revealing their anonymous donors. […]

Davis outraises Abbott on the 8 day report

Nice. Democrat Wendy Davis reported that she outstripped Republican Greg Abbott in fundraising, bringing in $2.85 million over a 29-day period. His totals were reported here. Davis has $11.3 million tucked away looking ahead to the general election. Her overall bank account still lags well behind Abbott’s $30 million. The Republican attorney general has seen […]

The oldest established permanent floating ethics probe in the state

The Chief Justice of our State Supreme Court, ladies and gentlemen. Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, already the longest-serving member of the state’s highest civil court, has the dubious distinction of owning another record: the longest running appeal of a state ethics fine. With the case dragging into its fifth year, watchdog groups […]

Keller accepts a plea deal on ethics charge

She gets off pretty lightly, if you ask me. Sharon Keller, the state’s top criminal court judge, has reached a deal to substantially reduce a record $100,000 fine levied by the Texas Ethics Commission for failing to fully disclose millions of dollars of real estate and income in financial statements. Under the settlement, released Friday, […]

More leftover campaign cash

The Chron writes about a subject I’ve covered before. Former Rep. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs of Houston used leftover campaign funds to buy a life membership in the National Rifle Association. Former Rep. Martin Frost of Dallas paid a $6,000 Federal Election Commission fine. Former Rep. Tom DeLay of Sugar Land hired a media consultant. And former […]

TEC approves texting campaign contributions

From Jerad Najvar: After brief discussion and comments by Jerad Najvar, attorney for Harris County Republicans, the TEC voted unanimously to approve a draft opinion permitting Texas political committees to accept contributions by text message. APPROVED OPINION HERE (the first page is a diagram of each method) The request proposed two methods for processing text […]

On conflicts of interest

Many members of the Texas Legislature have conflicts of interest, or at least they would if the rules on such in the Lege were more clear. Advocates of a part-time legislature say the system keeps lawmakers in touch with their constituents. Lawmakers are expected to serve their communities, and check their personal interests at the […]

CM Brown reimburses the city for her magnets

Score one for David Feldman. Houston City Councilwoman Helena Brown has repaid the city nearly $3,000 in taxpayer money she spent on refrigerator magnets that the Texas Ethics Commission says amount to campaign swag. City Attorney David Feldman, who had asked Brown to reimburse the city before the commission issued its opinion Thursday, said Brown […]

Time for the biennial attempt to de-fang the Travis County DA

Same story, next chapter. The Texas Ethics Commission, long criticized for its lax enforcement of public officials, is considering a plan to take over all ethics enforcement from the Travis County district attorney’s office, which has a long history of prosecuting errant state officeholders. The eight-member Ethics Commission, meeting Thursday in Austin, is scheduled to […]

Texting campaign contributions

I see no reason why this should not be allowed. A Houston-based PAC is asking the Texas Ethics Commission to approve a proposal that would allow the committee to solicit text message contributions from donors in the state. The Federal Election Commission has approved a text-to-donate model for federal campaigns, but demand for the service […]

Helena’s magnets

It’s been awhile since my last Helena Brown post, hasn’t it? Houston City Attorney David Feldman has asked Councilwoman Helena Brown to reimburse the city nearly $3,000 in taxpayer money she spent on refrigerator magnets that he contends amount to re-election swag. Brown’s office has declined to pay the money back, and both sides have […]

Drainage madness

I have three things to say about this. A year ago, Taxpayers for Financial Accountability campaigned against Houston’s Proposition 1, which called for a pay-as-you-go fund to shore up the city’s drainage infrastructure in part through a monthly fee on homes and businesses. They lost. The measure narrowly passed and the first bills went out […]

The $25,000 question

What the hell? A $25,000 campaign contribution to a Houston school board member normally would raise eyebrows for its size. Add in the fact that the donation was not listed in the trustee’s financial disclosure forms, and the five-figure check becomes evidence in a lawsuit. A Houston construction firm, the Gil Ramirez Group, alleged in […]

Sometimes, a little spite goes only a little way

I’ve decided I’m more amused by this story than anything else. Last year, six tea party members in the Houston area promised to make Austin City Council members pay for rebuking Arizona’s new immigration enforcement law, and they used extensive campaign finance complaints as their tool of retribution. The result: $1,500 in small fines for […]

Ethics ID

According to Martha, State Rep. Ken Legler (R, HD144) has filed HB1036, which would require two forms of ID to file an ethics complaint with the TEC. Who knew that ethics complaint fraud was so rampant in Texas? Clearly, our Attorney General has fallen down on the job in investigating this. I just want to […]

More on the new city ethics code

Not everyone likes the city’s new ethics regulations. “Instead of enforcing ethics standards, all of these things seem to license unethical behavior,” said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for government watchdog Public Citizen in Washington, D.C. The exceptions to the city’s new gift policy “license unlimited gifts and unlimited travel, and that is exactly what codes […]